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  1. For future use, Section 36 of the Data Protection act allows for an individual to make recordings - covertly if required - for their own domestic use. It's a very powerful exemption from the main principles of the DP act which states 'None of the data protection principles apply in these circumstances, nor do any of the rights which the Act gives to data subjects.' Read it fully on the ICO website and print it out in case you need to show it. (Scroll down to 'Domestic Purposes' on the page) https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/exemptions/ You should NOT broadcast or publish any of the recordings as this is not allowed but as long as it's just for your own private use - hence the 'domestic purposes' rule - you're fine. You can also transcribe the contents into a letter and use it in a complaint, that's perfectly fine. Jobcentre staff will always try and tell you that you can't record them, even though they're recording you. I record every time I'm in my JC and they know it - I even emailed the ICO rules to the JC Manager and told him I'd report him to the ICO if he or his staff attempted to deny my rights. If I had my way, every claimant would record every DWP appointment.
  2. As most here will know, I registered with UJ ages ago but found it utter rubbish so stopped using it. They can't mandate you to use any specific job-search site and there are far better ones I use. Got this email today from our wonderful friends at DWP.. 'Our records show that this email address (shown above) is currently registered against an active Universal Jobmatch account. It’s been a year since you accessed the account and used it to search for jobs. If you would like to keep this account please take a moment to log in. If you do nothing the account will be disabled within 4 weeks. Sincerely, Universal Jobmatch helpdesk Do not reply to this email unless you are directed to do so as we will not be able to respond. Please use the 'Contact us' facility if you have any further issues or to report this email as suspicious. We will never ask you for your password in an email. © 2013 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)' Just confirms what we already knew; they're monitoring how often you log in to UJ. No surpises there then. What's the betting I'll get another email after my UJ account has expired?
  3. Sorted it today when I signed on. Asked to see a manager and had a nice 25 minute chat with her.. I kept her 25 mins, she didn't keep me Though she initially tried to talk me down, assuming I didn't know anything about guidance or rules she soon backed right down when I showed her my knowledge of the system and how far I was prepared to go. Just the mention of taking the matter to her district manager had her backing right off - the district manager is relatively new and I'm wondering whether they've been clamping down on inefficient Jobcentres. They really did not want me to escalate my complaint higher. I suspect it's because in the past others have done exactly that and caused bother for the JC. I also threw in the fact that I'd be contacting the Information Commission Office regarding the fact these missing payments coincided with me refusing to use the electronic pads and would they construe this as the JC exerting pressure on me to hand over personal data. Again, she was panicking at the ICO's possible involvement. When I told her I audio recorded the interviews and could verify the attitude of the clerk as I signed she tried the old 'You shouldn't be recording conversations as it's rude' (her words lol). I quoted Section 36 of the Data Protection Act which most certainly said I could record and yet again there was panic. Upshot is, to request a new adviser I have to put it in writing, which I'll do over the weekend in a nice letter - making sure to point out that if I'm not given a new adviser the district manager will definitely be hearing from me. The meeting ended with her saying 'I give you my word no more payments will go missing from your claim'. We shall see. Sad that people have to go through all this when they should be getting good service from a government office.
  4. Had a look at that link..I have visions of the complaint sitting in limbo for God knows how long. The DWP are not exactly speed freaks when it comes to answering emails. Plus the character allowance for the reply box wouldn't be enough - I can write extremely detailed letters I'll start with the bods in the JC and take it from there.
  5. Amen to that! I write the odd article for one of the international modelling mags (model planes not fashion models!) and I always keep a copy in my job folder. Anyone suggests I should go on a basic literacy course I show them a 3 page magazine article and say 'In what way can the course improve me then?' Standing up for yourself is paramount, can't be stressed enough. Always remember that 99.9% of the time we''re smarter, more literate, more sensible and more decent than the WP bods. My dad has a saying 'He/she couldn't get a job anywhere else, that's all they're fit for'.
  6. Yes, that's the thing to do and I'll certainly be doing that on Thursday when I next sign on. I have little hope of anything being done though. The problem is, having been a DWP manager in the past, I am quite aware that managers will cover their staff's backs - especially if there's a likelihood of District Managers and higher officials being involved - and I fully intend to involve them. Plus if advisers are deliberately causing problems for clerical signers, they've no doubt been told to do this by their managers. One of the more decent staff in my local JC has already admitted that managers were telling staff to inform customers that use of the pads was mandatory and not to mention that they had a choice. It's not the complaining; it's getting the right people who will listen and act impartially. I would also imagine that if I could prove payments had been disrupted intentionally in order to pressure claimants into using the pads, this would also be a violation of the Data Protection Act principles of 'fully informed and freely given' consent.
  7. Last time a payment of mine went missing, the clerk in the jobcentre phoned me to tell me she'd contact the Benefit Delivery Centre on my behalf to sort it. Less than 5 minutes later, she rings me to say it's all done. Now what phone number was she using to get through to them so fast when us poor people have to use the 'normal' numbers and wait..and wait..and call back..and wait..etc.
  8. Hello all, Been a while since I've posted; hope you're all well and still fighting the good fight This concerns people who, like myself, still sign on clerically - ie they don't use the electronic data capture pads at the Jobcentre. Keeping it brief, a couple of my JSA payments didn't go through during the past months and I'm convinced this was done deliberately to get me to switch over to electronic signing. The adviser tries to make out it's my fault and that 'these errors wouldn't happen if you used the electronic signing system'. I point out that I've signed via paper for years now with no payments missing and that the problem seems to have started when the pads were introduced and I refused to use them. The payment release procedure takes 20 seconds on a simple dialogue screen; there is no chance of any 'error'...unless the clerk simply doesn't do it. Just finished getting last fortnight's missing money put through as adviser once again didn't complete the release procedure - despite her assuring me payment had been processed (God bless digital voice recorders). So, has anyone else who signs via paper suddenly had payments go missing or problems with their claim they never had before? I'm willing to bet quite a few have..
  9. I can vouch for that. At Groundworks, new inductions are held every Monday & Wednesday as they frantically try to get as many people starting the course so they can claim their Attachment Fees. Oddly enough, it's benefitting me as being without placement, I have to spent 4 days a week there doing jobsearch to the tune of 30 hours. What happens is, after the induction the new starters are required to do some jobsearch..and there aren't enough computers available so the '30 hours jobsearch' people get sent home On induction days we're often sent home after 45 mins - which is a lot better than a full day. Every cloud has a silver lining. ...and it's going to get more packed as the cut-off deadline approaches.
  10. If they've been keeping accurate records (ha!) and issuing MAN letters correctly (double ha!) they should be easily able to provide you with a list of all your appointments - they certainly have to do this should the DWP pay a surprise visit and ask to see copies. The guidance even says they have to do this 'promptly'. ..I bet they can't do it though. 'The computer system is down at the moment' is a favourite excuse used whenever I want to check on paperwork.
  11. ..not forgetting a very long and thorough literacy course. I still remember my Ingeus adviser writing stuff on a whiteboard and me calling out every ten seconds 'Excuse me, you've spelled that wrong'. I could actually see him start to write a word, realise that he wasn't sure about the spelling, and change it. Almost felt sorry for him. ..nah, no I didn't.
  12. They're hanging themselves quite nicely - I'm just giving them the rope Placement guy is new to this area and he hasn't a clue about the geography - hence him trying to send people on placements way past the 90 minute limit. Unbelievable. Apparently he's applied for another job so with a bit of luck we'll be shot of him as fast as he appeared. Do these people come from a mould on a factory production line?? I'm sure they do!
  13. Good replies as always. Nice to see the 90 minute rule also applies to getting home too - if anything, that takes even longer on public transport. It's crazy to assume that buses would run perfectly to timetable, especially in the early morning and early evening rush hours; mine are usually 15 mins late even turning up so there's 1/6th of the permitted travel time gone straight away. The best I can do in 90 mins is to travel into the city centre - and no further.
  14. You definitely need to be aware of the guidance and the rules - they'll try anything if they think you don't know the rules or are afraid to speak up. I'm currently on the CWP - halfway through now,thank God - with Groundworks and once again I've had to 'educate' them on what they're allowed to do and what they can't. A few days ago I even printed out a page from the CWP Provider Guidance and gave it to one of the staff with the comment 'This is what you should be doing'. He was not amused Also had to report the same guy for trying to over-ride the conditions on my Claimant Commitment. Unbelievable arrogance. Just like all the other work providers; same failings. They're not even issuing regular MAN notices which means that clients are on placement or jobsearch without any sort of mandation - I myself am missing 6 weeks worth of MAN's. Come the end of my course, all this will be handed over to DWP Contracts for investigation and I hope it stops them getting any further contracts.
  15. Don't know if this has been discussed previously on here but has anyone any clarification on whether the 90 minutes travel time is calculated by bus/train timetable information or calculated by actual travel time? For example, according to the timetable my morning bus takes 52 minutes to reach town, but as the rush-hour traffic is considerable the journey actually takes 1hr 20 mins on average - sometimes even longer. Add to this the fact that after you get off the bus, a further walk may be required to reach the job. In their usual fashion, the DWP info is totally vague and just mentions 'travel time'. I would class 'travel time' as the actual time it takes to reach the job, not the theoretical time on the timetable. Buses may run nearer to the timetable during the mid-day but they certainly don't during the morning rush hour!
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